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A Little Bit of Me

Yes, it's probably me - that person in the grocery store smelling like a horse barn

By KJ AartilaPublished 9 months ago Updated 9 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - March 2023
Getting in line for driving a pony in the York parade

A Little Bit of Me

I watched the movie in fascination: my first movie in a movie theater, and it was larger than life! I was eight years old and seeing “The Black Stallion” on the big screen, which cemented my passion.

Below is the scene from the movie where Alec is stranded on the beach with only the wild stallion.

From the earliest of days, I was horse-crazy. My first experiences in the equine world coming from a litte black and white pony named Lena.

Me and Lena the pony

When I was eight, I got my own horse - a little bay half-Arabian gelding named Jimmy. He was bred and trained by my Great Uncle and gifted to me (for a small fee from my parents) upon his retirement from the horse scene.

The first day I got Jimmy - he was 5, I was 8

Me and Jimmy in 1998, about 2 years before his death - I was 27 here

My hopes and dreams were inspired by The Black Stallion, the legend of Bucephalus, and the several aunts and uncles granting me access to horses, which nurtured my obsession. I must also give credit to my parents for their willingness to take on horse ownership on my behalf.

In the Legend of Bucephalus, Alexander the Great earned ownership of a horse, a black stallion, by taming the beast no one else could ride. He and the horse formed a partnership of trust and the horse carried Alexander the Great through many battles during the years of his rule. The legend implies the relationship between horse and boy was built on mutual respect. The boy listened to the horse. Because he was able to solve the issue, he earned the horse’s trust and loyalty.

The idea for a palpable, yet nearly invisible, connection is what I have always strived to achieve with horses. Although, I have lost my way and and lost my confidence many times over the years, I keep returning to my roots. I can’t stop. I have seen glimpses of the greatness, which feed ny hope and lead me back to the dream. I want to follow the path to developing a nearly magical connection with my horse, and I wish to share it with other people. What I am discovering as I get older and more immersed, is that nurturing that connection, finding that trust and developing it into a partnership is best achieved by learning about ourselves.

I value a relationship with horses, and how it mirrors relationships in life. And how we, as humans, perceive the world. If we are willing to be open and trusting, horses can help us fulfill our own potential, which, in turn, nurtures theirs. That is the value in any passion, though - its ability to teach us about ourselves. I wrote about one of a multitude of examples here - "The Impacts of a Truth," about how my heart-felt passion helped me view, understand and better my relationships in the human world, and horse world.

Alexander the Great was just a child when he tamed the wild horse and then ruled a country. He overcame incredible odds despite many naysayers because of the belief in himself and the trust of his beloved horse.

Thank you for reading! Leave comments below regarding your feelings on the issue of relating your passion to life and how it helps you! If you like this story, you can show your support with a small tip easily accessed by clicking on the “Tip” button at the bottom of this page - all proceeds go toward feeding my family, as they don’t really like hay as much as the horses do.

KJ Aartila grew up in a small, rural community surrounded by animals and family. She, along with her husband and daughter, horses and other pets, now live on 40 acres in Northern Wisconsin, surrounded by forest and wildlife. She has spent her life reading about, writing about and working with animals, her goal always to be as reliable, trustworthy and honest as a horse, but her innate humaness keeps getting in the way. She remains determined to keep trying, though.

If you’re interested in reading more content written by me, please go to my profile page here.

If you would like to see more information regarding my horse program, you can watch videos at my Youtube channel here.

Here's a link to my website!


About the Creator

KJ Aartila

A writer of words in northern WI with a small family and a large menagerie.

My Substack

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Comments (32)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock3 months ago

    And today equine therapy is not uncommon. I don't know if their approach is the same as yours. Yours makes me think of "The Horse Whisperer".

  • J. S. Wade5 months ago

    Horses know people minds and hearts. They are not tools, they are gurus! Love your story 🥰

  • Judey Kalchik 5 months ago

    When I was nine years old I got measles. They were a particularly bad cade and for some reason they 'went to my eyes' and I had to be in a dark room and could NOT read. My grandmother sat in the room and read to me every day. Our favorites were Mist, and The Black Stallion. Thank you for bringing back those memories again today.

  • Holly Pheni6 months ago

    I admire your heartfelt animal tales so much! Look how little you were on that horse! Confession: I was always afraid of horses, but my daughter is a regular cowgirl. I'm proud of her love for all her creatures!

  • Jay Kantor6 months ago

    Dear Ms. KJ - Ah, 'Lena' ~ Love those Pinto-Ponies ~ YOU get Lotsa "BiTs" of Me! Although I'm way out of the popular demographics - I've been following your Bop-Around Topic Pics forever - along with your gorgeous intro presentations *Subscribed with pleasure. Jay Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Author Community -

  • Jacob Damian7 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story keep it up

  • Clare G.7 months ago

    As R.S. Surtees put it, "there is no secret so close as between a rider and his horse"... I've lived a life in love with horses, and there's no real way to describe it effectively to those who don't have the bug! Wonderful article, thank you for publishing!

  • Nikki Clam9 months ago

    Your story about your pet really touched my heart. It's amazing how much love and joy they bring into our lives. Thanks for sharing!

  • Erica Wagner9 months ago

    Thank you for this Keila! I loved reading about the magical connection you feel to these remarkable animals. If you haven't read Sarah Maslin Nir's book, Horse Crazy, I think you might like it...

  • Ethan Jackson9 months ago


  • Awesome story 🥰💬❤️💯✨Congrats🎉🎉

  • Allie Bickerton9 months ago

    Nice to meet you Keila! 🙂 I read this yesterday in the V+A group while I was making supper. I was in the middle of leaving a comment when I remembered I have a picture here capturing the moment I first sat on a horse. I was very young, less than 2, probably 1. My Mom is holding me up... I came back to the thread after taking a picture of my picture to share only to discover that I lost your post the the algorithm. So glad I came across it again! I wanted to say you raised some very thought provoking points! I enjoyed reading your deep perspective, and I can totally understand the obsession… I’m the lady in the grocery store probably dragging hay behind me.. (I have rabbits!) 😂

  • Test9 months ago

    Lovely top story, Keila! Horses are such special animals. Hearted and subscribed…a black heart for the Black Stallion 🖤

  • JBaz9 months ago

    I love the thought you out into this piece. I could feel the love you had for Jimmy. Congratulations on Top Story

  • Paul Stewart9 months ago

    Congratulations on another fine Top Story - loved hearing more about your story and the pics of the horses are awesome! Well done!

  • Great story!! Congratulations on the top story

  • Dana Stewart9 months ago

    Absolutely love this piece. You are so right, relationships with horses do mirror relationships with people. How was I not subscribed to you? I am now. Congratulations on a meaningful Top Story!

  • Melissa Ingoldsby9 months ago

    I loved your comment on Alexander the Great. Cute Jimmy, sorry for ur loss. Congratulations on top story!!

  • Cathy holmes9 months ago

    Wonderful piece. Love the story and the pics. Congrats on the TS

  • Call Me Les9 months ago

    Yay! Go Keila 💛 Writing and pictures are both wonderful.

  • Mariann Carroll9 months ago

    Love your story, enjoyed your pictures with your horses. ❤️

  • Congratulations on your Top Story ❤️

  • Heather Hubler9 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!!

  • Heather Hubler9 months ago

    Thank you for sharing this piece of yourself :) I'm so glad horses came into your life at a young age and have been such a positive influence on your life. Great article :)

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